A Foreign Missionary on the Long March: The Unpublished Memoirs of Arnolis Hayman of the China Inland Mission
- About the Book
In China in the 1920s and 1930s, foreigners were frequently at risk of being captured by bandits and held for ransom. The phenomenon became so common that foreigners who were captured were called “foreign tickets” (yang piao). Because of their unique status in China due to extraterritoriality, foreign captives were more prized than Chinese victims. Successive CCP leaders in various Soviet areas also in the 1920s and 1930s greatly valued the “foreign tickets” they captured. In 1930 there were an estimated twenty-five missionaries in China being held by Communist groups. The foreigners suffered great deprivations in captivity; some were tortured and a small number were killed. The CCP plundered their personal and church possessions and even took funds intended for relief efforts. However, it must be said, that the CCP, like Chinese bandits, tended to treat foreigners slightly better than they did Chinese captives, whose lives were held very cheap.
It is in this context that A Foreign Missionary on the Long March, a previously unpublished eyewitness account of the Chinese Communist Party’s epoch Long March, so resonates. The author, a New Zealand-born missionary for the China Inland Mission from 1913 to 1945 was captured and held hostage for 413 days by the CCP’s Sixth Army from 1934 to 1935. Hayman’s grim account of the Red Army in retreat gives a new perspective on the historic Long March, as well as a glimpse of the CCP in the time before Mao came to prominence. It also blurs the line between the Communists and common bandits. CCP historiography has turned the Long March into the founding myth of the PRC. Hayman’s memoirs offer a fresh perspective on this crucial period of CCP history and implicitly, in the role it plays in the CCP’s current hold on power.
- About the Author(s)
Anne-Marie Brady, Editor